A look inside the Philadelphia Navy Yard

May 9, 2012

The Philadelphia Navy Yard is a historic site in the bustling Pennsylvania city, but it is also home to a U.S. Department of Energy-designated innovation Hub for the design and development of energy efficient buildings.

The Navy Yard's new Network Operations Center (NOC) is part of the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub (EEB Hub), and a reporter from The Philadelphia Inquirer was recently taken on a tour of the site in order to see how "smart grid" technologies perform at the urban office and industrial park.

According to an article by Michael Armstrong, the room, which is located on the first floor of Building 101 at the site, looks like a classroom aside from the energy efficient LED lighting.

The building is responsible for running and monitoring the "energy ecosystem" of the Navy Yard, which manages its own unregulated power grid. William J. Agate Jr., vice president of management and development at the site, noted that the opening of the NOC represents an important step for creating a smarter grid for the site.

According to the article, Agate said that the center uses software developed by Viridity Energy to help optimize the energy consumption of the Navy Yard.

Armstrong noted that it is in companies like Viridity that he sees the progress that has been achieved by the EEB Hub, which after obtaining $130 million in federal funding in 2010, has been working to become an economic engine in the energy efficient buildings sector.

Growth is evident at the site, according to the article, and employment has risen by a significant amount at the Navy Yard in recent years due to the expansion of the project. Roughly 2,000 people were employed when the site was turned over the City of Philadelphia and currently more than 8,500 people work for 115 companies at the facility.

Building 101 represents the test bed for assessing technologies and tools in the energy efficient buildings sector for the EEB Hub. At this site, researchers look at data that is continuously stored and rely on this information for the assessment of the impact of building energy technologies and systems on energy use.

According to the EEB website, the detailed building performance database is being used to motivate the building industry in the Philadelphia region to adopt these technologies and systems as part of a standard practice.